Thursday, April 12, 2007

Its That Vision Thing!

Vision Long Island's 10-Year Plan For "Smart Growth" Unveiled

If it feels like we've "been there, done that," maybe its because we have. Or maybe its simply a matter of having talked about "smart growth" here on Long Island ad nauseum, that the mere mention of the term evokes grimaces and groans.

Okay. We'll lay aside the pessimism for the moment, and come to the table (assuming we're invited) with an open mind.

Vision Long Island, a smart growth planning organization located in Northport, has put forth an ambitious plan intended to implement smart growth initiatives across Long Island.

The plan seeks to tackle many of the issues we've been addressing at The Community Alliance, including housing, preservation of open space, sustainable development, transportation, school taxes, and that ever-elusive regional planning.

In other words, everything is on the table for discussion and debate (the "been there, done that" part), with the hope that these continuing talks will ultimately lead to something akin to smart growth in our towns, villages, hamlets, and, dare we say, unincorporated areas.

We're not holding our breath, here.

As per Vision Long Island's own press release, "These recommendations have been distilled from the presentations of over 200 Smart Growth Summit speakers and from countless meetings across Long Island on Smart Growth and related issues." ["Distilled" being the operative word here. After all this talk, we could use a drink.]

And now, they're all set to talk some more. Actually, they did talk -- guess we weren't invited to stick in our two-cents (tear, tear) -- at the Neighborhood Network in Farmingdale.

We're waiting, with baited breath, to hear what the gathering of smart growth advocates have in store for us, and how they intend to sustain the intitiatives from incubation to implementation. We won't even ask how the planners of tomorrow's communities intend to fund these smart growth projects. [Perhaps we could establish a Smart Growth Taxing District.]

We're glad to see that Nassau County was represented at the Vision Long Island forum, with appearances by County Legislators David Denenberg and Lisanne Altmann, and almost surprised (but delighted to hear), that that Town of Hempstead (where "smart" is too often a four-letter word) had a presence through Town Councilmembers Ed Ambrosino and Dorothy Goosby. [Too bad Hempstead Town Supervisor Kate Murray couldn't find her way to Farmingdale. After all, gaining at least some "control" over what has been more than two generations of lousy zoning and rampant, haphazard development, would seem to be somewhat important, don't you think?]

Then again, for places like Elmont, Franklin Square, West Hempstead, Hempstead, Uniondale, East Meadow, to name but a few of Hempstead Town's havens, heck, we're not even on the map. Well, not on Vision Long Island's map, anyway!

Yes, "over 200 speakers and from over 1,000 meetings." Make that 1,001 meetings! Vision, vision everywhere, but not much to actually show for when when you look around Long Island's communities, particularly on our forgotten South Shore.

Don't get us wrong -- assuming you get us at all. We're all for smart growth, and endorse many of the initiatives called for in Vision Long Island's 10-year plan.

The only thing we're saying is, its time for less in the way of talking, polling, surveying, and, yes, even visioning, and more in getting us from drawing board and artist's rendering to affordable housing, a practical transportation system, walkable, shopable, livable downtowns, and the revitalization of what once was Main Street.

Anyway, to the folks at Vision Long Island, call us -- let's talk!
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Click HERE to read the Vision Long Island press release.

Click HERE to read article in Long Island Business News.

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